THE OBAFEMI AWOLOWO FOUNDATION DIALOGUE SERIES
The First Obafemi Awolowo Foundation Dialogue (1992) examined the
theme ''Nigeria: The Way Forward".
The theme was conceived as a retrospective, introspective and prospective appraisal
of the Nigerian condition, particularly in the run-up to the 21st century. The
keynote address at the Dialogue was delivered by Professor Claude Ake, 1992 Nigerian National Merit Award Winner. Other speakers included Alhaji Ahmed Joda, distinguished public servant and technocrat, Professor Sam Aluko, renowned economist, and Professor Isawa Elaigwu, University teacher and political scientist. Dr. Pius
Okigbo, international economist and elder statesman was 'chairman of the Dialogue.
The Second Obafemi Awolowo Foundation Dialogue (1993) focused on
critical issues in education in Nigeria.
To this end, study teams were commissioned to examine the various sectors and contemporary concerns of the Nigerian educational system. The conclusions and recommendations of the study groups were presented at the Dialogue under the general theme, "Nigeria and Education: The Challenges Ahead”. The keynote address at the Dialogue was delivered by Professor J.F. Ade AJayi renowned Nigerian historian and a laureate of the Nigerian National Order of Merit; while Dr. S. J. Cookey, foremost educational administrator, was chairman.
The Third Obafemi Awolowo Foundation Dialogue (1994) examined the theme, "Nigeria: In Search of Leadership".
The Dialogue sought to examine the leadership problem in Nigeria by providing an intellectual basis for understanding the failure of previous attempts to address the problem and the consequences of this failure. It also sought to highlight the urgent need to evolve sound and enduring solutions so as to terminate the cyclical movement of the leadership problem and resolve the national dilemma arising there from. The keynote address at the Dialogue was presented by Justice Akinola Aguda, a laureate of the Nigerian National Order of Merit and former Chief Justice, Republic of Botswana. The event was chaired by Justice Chukwudifu Oputa, former Judge of the Supreme Court of Nigeria.
The Fourth Obafemi Awolowo Foundation Dialogue (1995) explored the theme, "Nigeria: Democracy and the Rule of Law".
The choice of the theme was informed largely by its global relevance and its topicality for the ideals of national reconciliation and accelerated, balanced development
in Nigeria. Conceptualized before the Ogoni hangings, but coming right in the midst of the national crisis and international outcry occasioned by that unfortunate event, the Dialogue properly situated the paucity of democracy and the rule of law in Nigeria as aspects of the continuing crisis of state formation in post-colonial Africa. A
distinguished legal scholar and human rights activist, Professor Itse Sagay gave the keynote address at the Dialogue which was chaired by Chief F.R.A. Williams,
Nigeria's leading legal counsel.
The Fifth Obafemi Awolowo Foundation Dialogue (1996) focused on the theme ''Nigeria: Toward Youth Agenda for the 21st century ".
The Dialogue was convened to serve as auspices for a multi-disciplinary
examination of the developmental potentials of the Nigerian youth in the context of national realities and global trends. Dr. Anthony Marinho a Gynecologist and Secretary, Educare Trust, an educational NGO, was keynote speaker at the Dialogue. The event was chaired by Professor Ayo Banjo, former Vice-Chancellor, University of Ibadan and Emeritus Professor of English.
The Sixth Obafemi Awolowo Dialogue (1997) was devoted to the theme "Healthcare in Nigeria: Present Status, Future Goals".
The Dialogue sought to provide answers to compelling questions about the state of health care in Nigeria, beam its searchlight on the "weak links in the chain of health care delivery identify the major priorities and put forward an agenda for health care in the 21st century. The keynote address was delivered by Professor A A Lucas, Professor of International Health at Harvard University and Officer of the Federal Republic (OFR), while the chairman was Professor T. Belo-Osagie, eminent medical scholar and university administrator.
The Seventh Ọbafẹmi Awolọwọ Foundation Dialogue (1998) had as its theme, “Nigeria’s Endangered Environment: Agenda for a New Millennium”.
The Dialogue attempted to explore the dilemma faced by developing countries of balancing the problem of providing the most basic conditions and resources for a habitable environment for the mass of the population, with the imperative of ecological stability, without which the world’s economic development might not be sustainable. The Opening Plenary was chaired by Alhaji Alfa Wali, Nigeria’s Honourable Minister for Agriculture. The keynote address was delivered by Professor Akinjide Osuntokun, distinguished historian, former Ambassador of Nigeria to Germany and environmental activist.
The Eighth Ọbafẹmi Awolọwọ Foundation Dialogue (1999) focused on the theme, “Nigeria: Path to Sustainable Democracy”.
Hosted within a few months of the swearing-in of the first democratic governments in several years, the theme of the Dialogue was chosen with a view to providing a roadmap for the stabilisation of our fledgling democracy in the face of numerous challenges. The aim was to arrive at a broad consensus on those imperatives required to nurture and sustain democracy in Nigeria, both as a system of governance and a way of life. Former Inspector General of Police, notable politician and erstwhile presidential aspirant, Alhaji M. D. Yusuf chaired the Opening Plenary. Professor Adele Jinadu, eminent political scientist and Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences of Lagos State University, delivered the keynote address.
The Ninth Ọbafẹmi Awolọwọ Foundation Dialogue (2000) explored the theme, “The Face of Poverty”.
Compelling statistical data and anecdotal evidence underline the intensity and prevalence of poverty in Nigeria at the dawn of the 21st Century. Yet, very few factors constitute as alarming a threat to the survival of Nigeria’s young democracy as the depth and complexity of the country’s poverty problem. The continuing search for solutions provided a backdrop for this Dialogue. Professor Ango Abdullahi, Special Adviser to the President and Chairman, Technical Review Committee on Poverty Alleviation of the Federal Government, chaired the Opening Plenary. The keynote address was delivered by Professor Dayo Akeredolu-Ale, Founder and Executive Director of the Centre for Social Policy (CSP), Ibadan.
Special Ọbafẹmi Awolọwọ Foundation Dialogue in Celebration of the Ọbafẹmi Awolọwọ Centennial (2009) was based on the theme, “The Awolọwọ Legacy and the Youth”.
The event was jointly organised by the Ọbafẹmi Awolọwọ Foundation and the Ọbafẹmi Awolọwọ University, Ile-Ife. The Awolọwọ legacy in this context is, essentially, the concept of the development of the individual as the remedy for Nigeria’s underdevelopment. The aim of the Dialogue was, therefore, to inspire the youth to prepare to fashion an ennobling future for their generation by drawing on outstanding lessons from the past in general, and AWO in particular. The Opening Plenary featured two Welcome Addresses by the Vice-Chancellor of Ọbafẹmi Awolọwọ University, Professor Michael Faborode and the Executive Director of the Ọbafẹmi Awolọwọ Foundation, Dr Ọlatokunbọ Awolọwọ Dosumu. The Foundation’s Grand Patron, His Royal Majesty Oba Okunade Sijuwade, Olubuse II, The Ooni of Ife, delivered a Goodwill Message. The Dialogue, for the first time, featured two keynote addresses. The first was delivered by Chief Anthony Enahoro, politician and member of AWO’s legendary cabinet in the Western Region in the 50s. The second keynote address was delivered by Dr Wale Adebanwi, author and Professor of African American & African Studies at the University of California, Davis. The Executive Governors of Ogun, Ondo and Rivers States, HE Otunba Gbenga Daniel, HE Dr Olusegun Mimiko and HE Rotimi Amaechi, respectively, addressed the Dialogue at a session titled, ‘Sustaining the Legacy’.
Special Ọbafẹmi Awolọwọ Foundation Conference, Grand Finale of the Ọbafẹmi Awolọwọ Centennial Celebrations (2010), was devoted to the theme, “Free Education in Nigeria: 55 Years On”.
The abysmal state of the Nigerian educational system, currently, appears to suggest the need to re-articulate and re-define the purposes of education so that appropriate measures can be put in place regarding content, partners, beneficiaries, methodology, funding and other educational demands. This was the rationale for the Conference, which was chaired by Professor J. F. Ade-Ajayi, Emeritus Professor, University of Ibadan. Two keynote addresses were delivered by Dr Doyin Salami, Lecturer, Lagos Business School and Mrs Sade Adefisayo of Corona Schools Trust. Chief J. A. Babatola, Parliamentary Secretary to Chief Awolọwọ, delivered a Goodwill Message.
Special Ọbafẹmi Awolọwọ Foundation Dialogue (2011) was themed, “Transformational Leadership and Good Governance: Lessons from the Awolọwọ Example”.
Hosted in the wake of the 2011 elections and as recently-elected Federal and State governments prepared to settle down to business, the Ọbafẹmi Awolọwọ Foundation chose to, once again, actualise its mission-mandate by organising a scholarly review of Awo’s leadership and governance models, and distil lessons therefrom, as our contribution to the process of nation-building. The Opening Plenary was chaired by Prince Bola Ajibola, former Attorney General of the Federation and international jurist. The keynote address was delivered by Professor Itse Sagay, eminent legal scholar and human rights activist. His Excellency, Dr Olusegun Mimiko, Executive Governor of Ondo State delivered a paper on ‘Leadership & Governance in Nigeria: Challenges, Problems and Prospects’.